According to a New York Times article this January, the average kid, ages 8-18, spends over 7 ½ hours a day using technology gadgets equaling 2 ½ hours of music, almost 5 hours of tv and movies, three hours of internet and video games, and just 38 minutes of old fashioned reading according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which adds up to 75 hours a week! These statistics are not just mere numbers; they are a reflection of the way our society is heading. There is a direct correlation of amount of hours spent with gadgets and obesity, poor grades, impatience, violence, and a loss of family interest. Obesity
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in a study in 2004, 16% of children (over 9 million) that are between the ages of 6 -19 years old are overweight or obese, a number that has tripled since 1980 (mostly due to electronic usage). Being overweight can bring with it great health concerns. Many of these children have a good chance of developing Type II Diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, social discrimination, high cholesterol and/or blood pressure. Also, according to a Stanford University of Medicine study, elementary students consume 20% of their daily calorie intake while watching television, which usually includes unhealthy snacks, largely due to advertisements for junk food and boredom. Coincidently, kids are not burning off any of these calories while they are plopped in front of the television. Academics
Another area of focus is that children who spend too much time in front of the television or playing video games tend to have worse grades than those students who are active and involved in extracurricular activities. Studies have shown that since they are so used to multi-tasking they have trouble focusing all of their attention on schoolwork. Studies performed by Dr. Rosen at Cal State showed that 16-18 year olds perform 7 tasks, on average, at one time like texting on their cell phone, sending instant messages while checking Facebook with the television on. “I worry that young people won’t be able to summon the capacity to focus and concentrate when they need to,” said Vickey Rideout, a Vice President at the Kaiser Foundation.
Impatience goes hand in hand with the laziness kids are starting to develop. Due to the ease of access to the internet kids now expect immediate responses and rely on the internet to give them all of the answers. They expect answers before they take time to think about solutions. According to an article in the New York Times this January, new technology is creating mini-generation gaps and are most visible in communication and entertainment choices. Dr. Rosen said that the newest generations, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and won’t have the patience for anything less. “They’ll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone, because after all, that is the experience they have had growing up,” he said. This is a common problem of kids of this generation and kids are losing the value of learning from their mistakes. Family Life
Families are being hurt as well by all of the new technology. When a group of 4-6 year olds were asked to choose between watching TV and spending quality time with their fathers, 54% of them would rather watch TV. Also, according to the same survey reported by the A.C. Nielson Company the average parent spends three and a half minutes A WEEK having meaningful conversations with their children. Technology is creating a generation gap that makes parents feel as though they can’t relate to what their kids are doing. Violence
Another controversial topic circling right now is the amount of violence kids are exposed to while playing video games or watching television. Many TV shows now posses poor role models and expose children to things that they may be too young to see while video games allow kids to play with fake guns. The same survey by A.C. Neilson Company reported that by the time a child finishes elementary school they will have already witnessed 8,000 murders. In the USA an average of 20-25 violent acts are shown in children’s television programs each hour. A significant association was found between the amount of time spent watching television during adolescence, with its exposure to violence, and the likelihood of subsequent antisocial behavior, such as threatening aggression, assault or physical fights resulting in injury, and robbery. Young children are more easily impressionable. have a harder time distinguishing between fantasy and reality. cannot easily discern motives for violence learn by observing and imitating.
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